On Thursday, Indiana University Northwest held their annual Chancellor’s Medallion celebration at Avalon Manor in Merrillville. The Chancellor’s Medallion is the highest honor to be presented by the Chancellor of IU Northwest.
The Award is bestowed upon individuals or organizations who have rendered distinguished service to the University and community. Since 1996, 19 Medallion awards have been presented by an IU Northwest Chancellor.
Honored during this year's Chancellor's Medallion ceremony were Dr. Keith Lorentzen, Associate Professor Emeritus at IUN, and Strack & Van Til Supermarkets.
Tonight, we celebrate our Medallion recipients, as well as the generous contribution made by all supports of IU Northwest,” said IUN Chancellor, William J. Lowe.
“Each year, I look forward to this event because it is my great honor to announce those who truly personify the ‘margin of excellence’ for our students and campus,” Lowe said. “It is without a doubt that, this year, the honorees have rendered distinguished service to the University and the Northwest Indiana community. Their exemplary work and philanthropy have been instrumental in advancing our campus, and supporting our greatest asset, our students.”
First to receive the Chancellor’s Medallion at the evening’s celebration was Dr. Keith Lorentzen, who devoted nearly his entire adult life to one university. While he retired from IU Northwest 28 years ago, Lorentzen’s support continues indefinitely thanks to the scholarship he created in 2002, given annually to an outstanding chemistry student.
Lorentzen continues to receive letters of gratitude from recipients of the Keith Lorentzen Scholarship Award each year.
“The students often say that without the scholarship, their families could not provide them the money to pay tuition,” Lorentzen said. “It feels really good to help.”
When asked why he continues to give to IU Northwest and its students, Lorentzen simply said, “because education is important.”
Strack and Van Til Supermarkets (SVT) are a cornerstone of communities throughout Northwest Indiana and Illinois. Investing in the communities it serves is part of the corporate mission developed by Ernie Strack and Nick Van Til when they opened the chain’s first store in 1960. Jeff Strack, grandson of Ernie and now president and CEO, continues to fulfill and expand his family’s philanthropic legacy today.
Strack’s parents established the Strack Family Scholarship in 1997. The scholarship is awarded to a business student with financial need and who is an employee or child of SVT employees. To date, the scholarship has benefitted roughly 50 students.
“I frequently hear people say that they worked their way through school by working at Strack and Van Til,” he said. “Or, they say that without the scholarship and the job, they might not have graduated. So in some small way, we helped give that person an opportunity and that’s a great feeling. It makes you want to continue to do what you do and look into ways that we can do more.”
This year’s recipient of the Strack Family Scholarship was Joshua Harvinson, who has worked at the Strack & Van Til location in St. John, Indiana for six years and is in his final year at IUN where he is a business major.
“It feels really good,” said Harvinson when speaking about receiving the Strack Family Scholarship. “I’ve worked for Stracks since I was 16 years old and it makes me think that they really do care about their workers. They value me and it makes me happy to work for such a good company that’s willing to give back.”